A Norwegian-French archaeological mission working in Qasr Al-Agouz, Bahariya Oasis have discovered several ancient Coptic ruins made out of basalt and mud brick.
The head of the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities Osama Talaat said that these buildings date back to around the fourth and seventh centuries AD, and include the remains of three churches with walls adorned in Coptic inscriptions.
Mission head Victor Ghica said that further work uncovered 19 rooms carved into rock and a still structurally intact church. Two oblong rooms found within had walls covered in writings from the Bible in Greek, providing a glimpse of monastic life since the fifth century AD.
The first sector of the six areas includes a church, its dining hall, fountains at the monks’ residence areas and various rooms.
In addition, several pieces of ostraca were discovered – pottery shavings bearing Greek writings dating back to the fifth and sixth century AD.
This discovery provides greater understanding formation of the first monastic congregations in Egypt in the region.